By now, many of us have heard what Marion Brown, a former aide to Congressman John Conyers, said he did to her. He touched her inappropriately. He propositioned her. He showed up in a hotel room in his underwear, pointed at his genitals, and told her to gratify him sexually.
But what was the culture like in Conyers’ office, leading to the alleged incidents? What was the context in which these kinds of things might have happened, and how did those around Conyers either contribute to or disrupt the blurring of personal and professional lines?
In a wide-ranging interview, Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson asks Brown, who is now speaking out about her interactions with Conyers, to help us understand the dynamics that were at work with her employment, and in the Congressman’s office.
“At one time, it was said amongst staff members – females – that he thinks his initials – J.C.– stands for Jesus Christ,” says Brown.
“I had the impression people were scared of him,” she says. “It’s ownership. He owns you when you’re there.”
Brown says she does not hate Conyers, and still respects his legacy as a civil rights icon. But, she says, his behavior is unacceptable and wants an apology.
“I have no reason to lie on him. There’s no incentive. I mean, he’s an African American, he’s a Democrat, I am too. And I do say, I’m not taking away from the fact that he’s a civil rights icon. He’s just on the wrong side… His personal behavior is unacceptable.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.